If you've read this book, and it has deepened your walk with Christ, I am sincerely, genuinely happy for you. However, if you have not read this book, you really need to be careful as I found it has the tendency to encourage legalism and self-righteousness. Basically, it sets up readers into two categories: the fans and the followers. The fans are those who root for Jesus, but won't necessarily give up everything for Him. The followers are those who will pay any price for Jesus. There are a couple of problems with this viewpoint. First, the theme of the book is how much better followers are than fans, not "following" versus "fannish" behaviors, but the actual people themselves. This sets up one group to feel superior to the other. If you read the Bible, the only time Jesus ever got really angry was at self-righteous religious people; in fact, He held them in the utmost contempt. However, if you read Not A Fan and decide that you are, indeed, a follower and not a fan, you automatically can pat yourself on the back as being elevated above other Christians. Congratulations.
Not A Fan continually focuses on what YOU need to do to become a more devoted follower, what YOU should give up and what YOU should commit to and what YOU should tithe. Mr. Idleman cites himself as an example of this in stating that he looked at his accounts to make sure that nothing received more money than tithing (maybe in publishing this fact he missed that whole not letting the left hand know what the right hand is doing bit, but oh well [Matthew 6:3]). This is but one example of how, in Mr. Idleman's view, YOU should let nothing be more important than Jesus. The problem with this belief is that it indicates that God needs our help to do His mighty, awesome, and perfect work, and elevates us by our own hand, when in fact, it is only through Him that we can work, not the other way around.
I read this book and, like some others who gave a one- or two-star review, immediately became plagued with neurotic doubt. What if I wasn't good enough? What if I wasn't a big enough fan? Should I deliberately piss off my husband and my family to prove what a good and devoted "follower" I was? Well, I didn't see the benefit of that, so I began to doubt if I even was saved at all. Church became anxiety-provoking and I became very down about Jesus and my relationship with Him...
...until I read Grace Walk: What You've Always Wanted in the Christian Life by Steve McVey, who said, "relax, you ARE saved, you ARE righteous, trust in Jesus, let Him work through you and all will be well." This approach is hardly watered down; in fact, it is very powerful. If you trust in Jesus and not your own works, the anxiety goes away. Being a Christian does not mean taking on a long set of duties, chores, or obligations, it means trusting in the Lord by letting His faith and love for you in. If that results in mighty works, that's absolutely wonderful, but you can't say, "see? This proves I'm a follower. Yay, me!" I feel that Mr. Idleman's message, though well-intentioned, results in people feeling either guilty or prideful, two things Christians are not supposed to feel.